Renewing professional indemnity insurance (PII) has become more challenging for architects in recent years. Premiums have risen and many architects are facing restrictions on the types of work or projects they are insured to undertake. Cover relating to fire safety risks has also become increasingly difficult to secure following the Grenfell fire in 2017.
Now, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published a revised practice note to help its members secure PII cover. It sets out the context of the current insurance market and offers guidance to members on the steps they can take to present their practices to insurers in the best light. These include:
• Clearly explain the practice’s background, nature of work undertaken and client base, including highlighting risk management procedures.
• Keep accurate records and demonstrate a clear knowledge of materials recommended by the practice.
• Start the process early and submit the renewal proposal in good time to give the insurance broker sufficient time to secure cover.
The practice note also includes guidance for practices considering changing insurer and the immediate steps firms should take if they are unable to secure PII cover.
Mark Klimt, a RIBA Specialist Practice Consultant says: “Giving insurers as full and accurate a picture as possible cannot be wrong and can prevent any knee jerk response from the insurer. It is also an opportunity to highlight the checks and balances you have in your systems to guard against problems, which will give insurers a proper idea of what they are getting into.”
Brunel Professions is a leading UK professional indemnity insurance broker and helps hundreds of architects’ practices secure PII cover every year. James Burgoyne of Brunel says: “RIBA’s new practice note on professional indemnity insurance is realistic and sensible, particularly its points on providing detailed risk reduction information and starting the renewal process early. Good quality cover is still available in the market for architects’ practices and we are working closely with our architect clients to navigate through the present market conditions.”